Field test and electrode optimization of electrodynamic cleaning systems for solar panels
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Soiling is the major cause of power loss of photovoltaics (PV) and concentrated solar power (CSP) in desert areas. Electrodynamic cleaning system (EDS) is an automatic and water-free integrated cleaning system for mirrors or solar panels, which uses pulsed electric fields to remove dust off their surface. The first EDS field test over a long period on PV modules is reported here and shows a clear effect on soiling reduction in real conditions in Saudi Arabia. A total of 458 days of measurements is analyzed, and depending on the considered periods, performance losses due to soiling (soiling rate) can vary from -0.06%/day to -0.41%/day for a reference module, while the relative soiling rate reduction using an EDS can be up to 95.7% with an average of 32.1%. Cost calculations demonstrate an added value of the modules equipped with the EDS between 2.6 and 5.2 and xa2;/Wp compared with usual cleaning system, which is nearly between 10% and 20% of the module price. In addition, extended indoor tests of various electrode designs of EDS for heliostat dedicated to CSP or PV applications show a high cleaning efficiency of up to 98% with front glass thickness of more than 1 mm. A good specular reflectivity, only 4% lower than the bare reference mirror, is obtained with patterned sputtered silver in a spiral electrode design. High reliability of two types of electrode deposition is demonstrated after 200 cycles between -40 degrees C and and85 degrees C.
Progress in Photovoltaics, vol. 27 (11), pp. 1020-1033, Nov 2019.